Hennepin County's Unemployment Rises

In May, the county lost about 2,000 jobs. The state unemployment rate dropped slightly, while the nation's rate increased.

High-profile redevelopment projects are a can’t-miss sign of growth here in , but Hennepin County’s unemployment increased slightly in May as about 2,000 jobs were lost.

The county’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in May, according to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The unemployment level remains 0.9 percent less than the 6 percent reported in May 2011. But it’s still higher than the 4.8 percent reported in April 2012, which had been the lowest unemployment level for the county since May 2008. 
In May, 33,429 people out of the county’s 661,518-person labor force was unemployed. 

TwinWest Chamber President Bruce Nustad said a rate that stable is “somewhat encouraging.” But he expects the unemployment number to stay relatively steady through the election as parties try to convince voters that something is wrong that they need to fix.

“The economy is so driven by confidence that even just a little erosion is enough for an employer to say, ‘Well, I’ll wait another 30 days (to hire),” Nustad said.

Hennepin County’s unemployment rate was just less than the statewide rate of 5.2 percent. Nationwide the rate was 7.9 percent. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate shrunk 0.1 percent from April to May while the nationwide rate grew 0.2 percent.

Overall Minnesota lost 900 jobs in May and 155,362 Minnesotans remain unemployed.

“May’s economic situation for Minnesota showed a further decline in jobs as employment fell 900,” said Rachel Vilsack, coordinator of special projects for the Labor Market Information Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “There are positive indicators of our economic conditions, including seasonally adjusted new claims for unemployment are at a post-recessionary low, and online job postings as measured by the Conference Board’s HWOL (Help Wanted Online) index remain high relative to pre-recessionary levels.”

The numbers, which are only broken down to the city level for select communities, don’t necessarily reflect the situation in the west metro. Numbers aren’t available for Hopkins. Edina and Minnetonka saw gains comparable to the county average, but their rates remained lower than the county—4.6 and 4.5 percent, respectively.

“From an employment perspective, the West Metro is a little bit of a shining star,” Nustad said.



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